After a snow storm delayed the 5th Pennsylvania mini-casino auction Wednesday, a rescheduled auction was held on Friday. But unlike the large bids that were prevalent during the first four auctions, there were no bids on Friday.
The lack of bids on Friday has effectively the first round of the mini casino process.
What happens next
Now that the first round of the mini-casino license process is complete, bidding will now open up to additional parties for subsequent rounds. For now this will include the following entities:
- Casinos that have already bid on a mini-casino license (Penn National, Stadium LLC, Mount Airy and Greenwood Gaming)
- Owners of two resort casinos – Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin and Valley Forge Casino Resort
- All other Pennsylvania casino owners – although this is unlikely given that these casinos have passed on bidding thus far
There are potentially six more mini-casino licenses up for grabs. The second phase of the PA mini-casino auction process will begin on March 21 when bids will be accepted for the next license. Subsequent auctions will be held every two weeks for new PA mini casinos, which can include up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games.
What’s happened so far
The first four auctions raised a total of $120 million in license fees during January and February:
- January 10th: $50.1 million bid by Penn National owners
- January 24th: $40.1 million bid by Stadium LLC (the same group that is building the in-development Philadelphia LIVE! Casino)
- February 7th: $21.9 million bid by Mount Airy owners
- February 22nd: $8.1 million bid by Greenwood Gaming (owner of Parx Casino)
- March 10th: No bids
Was Friday’s developments a surprise?
After bids for the two mini-casinos vastly exceeded expectations, bids for the 3rd and 4th casinos have been much more modest. Indeed, in late February the $8.1 million bid by Greenwood Gaming was just slightly over the $7.5 million minimum bid. Given the precipitous decline in bids over the last couple auctions, what happened on Friday was note entirely a surprise.
One interesting omission on Friday was Sands Bethlehem, which was initially the winning bidder in the last auction but was ultimately rejected due to the proposed location’s close proximity to an earlier mini-casino site. But between the late February auction and Friday, Sands Bethlehem had actually announced it planned to sell their existing PA casino to an Alabama Indian tribe.